Now that we have achieved something of a steady state, I have decided that I will provide weekly newsletters for the duration of the closure of the Club. Some of these I anticipate to be no more than a few lines, others may be more expansive depending upon developments over the coming weeks
Since last Friday’s closure, the Club continues to be monitored and our newly recruited Maintenance Manager, Lee Welch, is making periodic visits to the Club to undertake routine, but essential checks, on elements of the Club infrastructure. Meanwhile, the staff team are in full contact with each other via the Microsoft ‘Teams’ App. This means that we are holding a daily HoD meeting via ‘Teams’ to discuss the previous 24 hours and direct work when needed. The team are still dealing with the many queries, room and event bookings for later in the year, so most of us remain busy. In addition to this, we are still trying to ‘get over the line’ with the IT project with the only remaining areas for completion being the ability for members to book rooms/events etc and pay online via the website. This has necessarily slowed down as our contractors are facing their own problems with accessibility to their own workforces but we remain in dialogue with all of them to maintain forward progress. We are continuing to draw up preliminary thoughts regarding the forward programme for the Club when things return to some form of normality.
Can I please remind members that the Club remains closed in its entirety. This means that members cannot access any part of the Club (even if they are in London and passing by) at any time during the closure. Being unoccupied by staff means that our insurance profile has changed in that members cannot access the Club without the Club being manned. I have informed our Insurers of this and the WHC Porters have been instructed to deny access during the closure.
In addition to my previous newsletters detailing cancellations of shows and events, I regret to report further curtailments to the 2020 programme. Announcements have been made that the Lincolnshire, Royal Welsh and New Forest & Hampshire Shows have all been cancelled therefore our planned events at these shows have also fallen by the wayside. The only Show that we intended to visit this year currently extant, is the Westmorland Show.
Despite our very best efforts to maintain the ‘Chairman’s Visit’ to the Lothians this year, this has also become unachievable owing to the unavailability of accommodation in Edinburgh and to some of the elements of that visit. As you might imagine, Allan is very disappointed not to be able to showcase some of the many splendours of the rich scientific, agricultural, historic and cultural experience that the Lothians offer, but we are hopeful that we may be able to re-introduce this later in the year as time permits.
We have had a few enquiries from members who have paid for events that we have subsequently had to cancel. For those who have written to us, please be aware that no member of staff is seeing or accessing any post that has been delivered to the Club after Friday 20th March (when the Club closed), as explained in my first newsletter concerning Coronavirus, we would refund those monies we were able to get back from our contractors. Some of those we have not been able to contact yet, but Anita and others are working on this. The other slight issue we have is that we cannot at present issue cheques for refunds as we do not have access to the cheque books. Refunds will be provided of course, but those members affected may just have to wait a little longer than normal to allow us to process them. Thank you for your understanding.
Many of you will be looking forward to receiving the Spring Journal in the next few days, however, as with most aspects of life at present, mailing out to the Membership may be delayed by a few days as our distributor has less staff working at present – but you will get them. Having spoken with the Chairman, my team and the Editor, we have concluded that the Summer Journal, usually received in May/June, will not be produced on this occasion. From a Club aspect, there will be almost nothing to report with the Club closed and I am sure that you are all keeping up to date with most farming issues through the trade and other sector publications. I do intend to bring forward the following Journal (Harvest) which usually comes out in mid-August, to mid-July, as I am still maintaining a nascent hope that some degree of normality may have returned and we will have a number of things to report, not least, the re-opening of the Club and a schedule of events etc.
I sincerely hope that this gives you a flavour of what is going on despite the current difficulties. At present, my information is that all staff are in reasonable health apart from some seasonal sniffles/colds. I remain impressed with their determination that the wheels of the Club remain turning despite not actually being at work. Please keep safe and healthy, and hope that the recent good weather has enabled many of you to get crops into the ground and start to resume your normal business after some very wet conditions. If you have any questions, queries or worries on Club matters, please do not hesitate to contact me via email.